Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough school district postpones controversial discussion on speakers

Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, saying more than 2,200 students got industry certifications this year.

KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times

Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, saying more than 2,200 students got industry certifications this year.

TAMPA — Friday morning began with a celebration of the Hillsborough County School District's successes.

It ended with a decision not to discuss on Sept. 11 whether a Muslim advocacy group can send visitors to the schools.

"I do not want to dignify this discussion on that day," School Board member April Griffin said.

The special board meeting, called to name principals and assistant principals before school resumes Tuesday, followed superintendent MaryEllen Elia's back-to-school news conference.

Speaking at Rampello K-8 School, Elia showcased academics, career training, and financial moves that enabled the district to offer raises to this year to teachers and support employees.

"We haven't done layoffs, we haven't done forced furloughs and we have been able to keep the programming in place that has supported our students across the board," Elia said.

Criticized in the past for overemphasizing Advanced Placement courses, Elia showed improvement in test scores as the number of tests taken more than doubled since 2006.

Responding to concerns about students who are not college bound, Elia said more than 2,200 got industry certifications this year.

And despite abrupt changes this year to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, almost two-thirds of elementary and middle schools received A and B grades from the state.

"It's been a turbulent transition," Elia said. "But I think we have to get beyond that and identify the good points in that and get ready to move toward the future."

Since mentors were added under Empowering Effective Teachers, retention of first-year teachers has climbed from 72 to 95 percent, Elia said.

A discussion about other aspects of EET happened at the board meeting. Teacher Michael Weston, who ran unsuccessfully for School Board, spoke on behalf of 18 teachers who might be terminated for having two consecutive unsatisfactory ratings.

They will not know for sure until the test-data portion of their evaluation is complete in late September. "This is what you should be having a special meeting about," Weston said.

Dan Valdez, deputy superintendent for human resources, said such firings happen every year, but before EET they happened in June. Elia, responding last week when Weston campaigned on the issue, sent an email assuring teachers that only a very, very few are affected by the possible terminations.

The meeting was almost over when Griffin raised the issue of guest speakers. It's something the board has wrestled with since November, when a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations visited Steinbrenner High School.

Members last week were about to call for parent notice of all school guests. They postponed the matter until the next meeting, which falls on Sept. 11. "I did not even realize the date and the importance of the date when I agreed to table that motion until Sept. 11," Griffin said Friday.

"I believe that this is a day that we should honor the fallen and I'd like to remain silent about this particular issue on that day."

Doretha Edgecomb withdrew her motion from the previous meeting, leaving the matter in limbo.

.

New principals

The Hillsborough County School Board named these new principals on Friday: Rebecca Sargable, Lanier Elementary School; and Donna Ippolito, Burney Elementary School.

Hillsborough school district postpones controversial discussion on speakers 08/17/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Outback Steakhouse sees growth in U.S. and Brazil markets in second quarter

    Retail

    TAMPA — Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands.

    The Outback Steakhouse, on 4088 Park St. N, is showin on July 26, 2017. Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse  and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  2. Florida education news: #HB7069 lawsuits, budgets, teacher's union tussle and more

    Blogs

    #HB7069 LAWSUIT: The tally of Florida school boards taking legal action against the state has risen to five. On Tuesday three school boards from Bay, The Pinellas County School Board meets in August 2015 at district headquarters in Largo.

  3. Brooksville man threatens couple with samurai sword in road rage incident

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — A Brooksville man is facing multiple charges after he threatened to kill a couple with a samurai sword during a road rage incident Tuesday afternoon, according to the Brooksville Police Department.

    Daniel Franklin Seymour, 43, of Brooksville, is facing multiple charges after he threatened to kill a couple with a samurai sword that he pulled out of his vehicle in a road rage incident Tuesday afternoon, according to the Brooksville Police Department.
  4. Parents of Plant High cheerleader urge others to learn from her death by heroin overdose

    Crime

    TAMPA — Since their youngest daughter died from an overdose of heroin, just weeks before her high school graduation, Dawn and Cliff Golden have searched desperately for something to do about it.

    Devastated at the death of daughter Katie from a heroin overdose, Cliff and Dawn Golden have gotten busy to turn the tragedy to good. Among their causes is aiding a new organization that works to make teens comfortable seeking help for mental health problems. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  5. Survey shows employees praise, fear Hernando School Superintendent Romano

    Education

    BROOKSVILLE — Two years after Hernando school district leaders suggested an employee-based evaluation of Superintendent Lori Romano, the results — showing feedback both positive and not so — are now public.

    
Hernando County School District Superintendent Lori Romano received an  evulation from people she supervises during a school board workshop Tuesday. In the survey, employees both praised and criticized her performance. She is shown here in a workshop three years ago as she was completing her first year in the job.